Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
THE sacking of Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini by the MDC Alliance for refusing to step down from his position and make way for the party’s desired candidate betrays their pretence to the principles democracy that they claim to champion, analysts have said.
After the 2018 elections MDC Alliance councillors in Victoria Falls voted Mr Dlamini as mayor for the resort town beating Ward 1 Councillor Clr Margaret Valley, the party’s preferred candidate.
The party directed that Mr Dlamini steps down to make way for Clr Valley but he refused leading to his suspension.
In the same year, the MDC Alliance fired Chegutu mayor, Clr Henry Muchatibaya, and suspended six councillors for defying a directive on the election of the mayor.
The party also threatened to fire Masvingo mayor Clr Collen Maboke for refusing to step aside for Ward 7 councillor Clr Daniel Mberikunashe whom the party wanted to occupy the position.
In a letter to Clr Dlamini dated February 24, MDC-A secretary general Mr Charlton Hwende said the party’s national council met the previous day and confirmed his expulsion as per its resolution in November 2018.
“This letter serves to inform you and confirm the termination by the National Council of your membership of the party with immediate effect as per the resolution of the National Council of 23rd November 2018.
“Your expulsion is in terms of Article 5.11(a) of the Movement for Democratic Change Constitution as read with the unanimous National Council resolution of 23rd of November 2018,” read the letter by Mr Hwende.
“Consequently, the Party is immediately invoking the provisions of Section 278 (1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution as read with Section 129 of the same to have you removed from the position of Councillor of the Victoria Falls Municipality.”
Article 5.11(a) of the party constitution is the same that was used to expel MDC-T president Dr Thokozani Khupe before a legal wrangle over rights to the opposition organisation.
It reads: “The National Council (by a two-thirds majority of all its members) is of the opinion that his or her continued membership would be seriously detrimental to the interests of the Party; Provided that the member shall be notified in writing of the grounds on which the National Council is considering the termination of his or her membership and is given a fair opportunity to make representations in writing or in person to the National Council where after the National Council shall consider the member’s written or oral comments and respond to them before making their decision.”
Political analyst Mr Richard Mahomva said the latest move by the MDC Alliance is portraying its blatant disregard for democracy.
“It shows that the centre is not holding considering that the ideological and foundational premise of the MDC has been that of superintending the discourse of democracy in Zimbabwe even at the aid of civil society proxies,” said Mr Mahomva.
“Most fundamentally, this should serve as a warning to Zimbabweans that Chamisa is a prospective dictator and the fact that he has gone on to do this not only in Victoria Falls but in other cities is reflective of how much the man has the potential to abuse constitutionalism and principle.”
Mr Teddy Ncube, another political analyst, said the MDC Alliance has cosmetic respect for democracy.
“The sacking of the Victoria Falls mayor really exposes the MDC-A’s cosmetic respect for democracy. It reflects that all along the Movement for Democratic Change has never been a conduit of democratic voices; instead it has always been the voice of a few elites masquerading as the public.
“As well, it shows the extent to which the opposition MDC-A is willing to respect the value of democratic processes. The move literally implies that the party is bigger than the voting public. It also implies that the MDC-A does not mind reversing what the public asserted when they elected councillors to act in their behalf. In that context, MDC-Alliance is reversing democratic power discharged through elected officials. The pitfalls of doing such are that MDC-A is disintegrating the value of democracy in decision-making processes,” said Mr Ncube.
“In any case the undermining of democratic processes is not a new thing in MDC-A politics. The people do not matter that is why they can marginalise public interests in favor of party interests as if everyone in Zimbabwe is a member of the MDC-Alliance.”
Another analyst, Mr Mlungisi Moyo said the actions of the MDC Alliance were a perfect example of dictatorship.
“It’s a clear indication that what they stand for is ultra-vires the ideals and principles of democracy. They are a pseudo democracy. When a person is elected by the people, they represent the voices of those people and their membership in that party qualifies them to hold any position they declare interest on why then are others more equal than others in what should be a democracy?
“It must be made very clear to the people that those people don’t stand for democracy, they have done it in other cities like Masvingo and Chegutu and now it is happening in Victoria Falls, this is a perfect example of a dictatorship,” said Mr Moyo.